by Nana Nwachukwu
So I read on some online news platform how one Oyinbo man gambled away $3000 plus of his life savings and reported the Gambling Company to the Police and the Police have decided to investigate the matter. It sounded really fascinating to me and somehow this afternoon, I found myself and my favourite Olopa discussing it. The man burst out “Chai, to say na for Nigeria here ehn! The money wey Police for help me recover na plenty money. E don tey wey I dey suspect that Baba Ijebu guy wey dey for junction”. I laughed and complimented his new Police uniform. He beamed with smiles and said “small madam, you sabi something o! If you see chics wey this uniform don bring ehn! Them think say I be Army”
Anyway, that was a Policeman wishing this country was a place where he could lay a complaint to the Police and get an investigation done.
Some weeks back after the Baga massacre, a relative of mine got back from Biu. I saw him yesterday with a certain friend of his. I needed to give some things to him since he was going down East. I was pretty down and did not care much for his tales however, his friend was saying something. “…you know, we do not have a database in this country. If we had a system that fingerprinted people instead of giving them crumpled paper and a broken pen to write statement (sic) only at the Station when arrested it will be easier to identify criminals and insurgents. If only we had a networked system in various Government establishments managed by diligent person which send collated information about a person into an established Police or any Armed Forces database, Nigeria would be making progress towards fighting terrorism or even any crime…” He went on, I tuned out. As they were leaving, I noticed the Army sticker on his car. I joked about it and it turned out, he was an Army Officer.
That is an Officer who knows that we have a terrible shortage of information. He is aware that Nigeria does not know its citizens. Who is a Nigerian? Can the Government tell or is it a question of holding some paper from a local Government that identifies you? Does Nigeria have a record of births? Deaths? Migrations?
We complain that our problem is the leadership. We have never had these things since 1960 till date. What is going to change about the leadership come 2015? Is there going to be a revolution of ideas? A revolution of persons? A revolution of integrity and what it really means? When we say ‘revolution’, what are we revolting against? Do we just want Jonathan out? Do we just want PDP out?
I remember a certain teacher of mine in Secondary School who changed her surname from Njoku to some Christian godly name. She said the name ‘Njoku’ is a tribute to the pagan Yam god. She did not change her attitude; she was still the same person. The surname made no difference. Most of us actually still referred to her as Mrs Njoku. What is my point? I read about the imminent cross-carpeting of some PDP Governors to ACN/APC (whenever they make up their mind on which is which) and I laughed imagining what they would do when they lose out on their unholy bids. Like the saying goes, ‘na the same people’. How long will we continue to recycle deadwoods?
(In Frank’s voice) “Now let’s play, who wants to be an activist?” I see future activists stirring up in the likes of Governor Amaechi and Senator Etok, etc. Like Dino and Mallam Nasiru, they will wear their cloaks of deception and bemoan the fate of masses that they now identify with. They will form anti-corruption agencies and gather foot soldiers. They will rail and rave as the social media has made it cheap. They will identify with the masses who could not reach them while in office. They will regret some of their actions while in office and blame it on the evil government they served which bound them hand and foot and prevented them from rejecting their appointments or resigning honourably.
My worry is this, how long will we ride this chariot of charades?
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